Staycation Series: Walking Holidays In The UK
Staycation; the act of taking a holiday at home or in your home country, exploring the areas accessible to you within a few hours by foot, bike, train, car or bus.
As we all start thinking about what adventures we’d like to do when the time comes that we are allowed, we got to thinking of our favourite places for walking trips in the UK. Whether you choose to enjoy your staycation from home with day trips to explore your local area or you choose to venture a little further afar, these are a few of our suggestions of slightly less obvious places you can go for hiking holidays in the UK.
The Cotswolds & North Wessex Downs
Sitting right on the edge of the Cotswolds in the south-west, Cirencester is a relatively small town but it is surrounded by gorgeous countryside that is just waiting to be explored. To the south, you can take in the flat trails around the Cotswold Water Park or make a start on the Thames path while to the north you have a host of undulating fields and forest paths peppered with picturesque Cotswold villages to enjoy.
Quantock Hills & Blackdown Hills
Taunton is a great location to be based for a walking holiday. To the north is one of England’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Quantock Hills, and to the south, you can also explore the Blackdown Hills. A little further to the east lies Exmoor national park. Each of which will offer an abundance of terrain including heathland, moorland and ancient woodlands.
Forest of Bowland & Yorkshire Dales
Located right on the border between the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Settle has an abundance of trails and tracks closeby. Whether you choose to challenge yourself with the Yorkshire 3 peaks: Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent or take it a little steadier amongst the gritstone fells and moorland tops of Bowland, you’ll have to come back more than once to explore all it has to offer.
Royal Tunbridge Wells
High Weald, Kent Downs & Surrey Hills
Perhaps one of the more popular staycation destinations on this list for historical reasons, Royal Tunbridge Wells is also perfectly situated for walking holidays. Not only does it have the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons amongst many other parks and maintained gardens close to the centre of the town but it is nestled in the north of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which boasts 2,395km of footpaths, byways and bridleways. It’s also not too far to reach the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs should you fancy taking in a few different areas in the same trip.
Northumberland National Park & Northumberland Coast
Those looking to avoid the crowds whilst out walking might enjoy Alnwick. The town itself is popular but to the west of it lies Northumberland National Park which is home to hundreds of miles of maintained walking routes and yet one of the least populated and least visited of all the National Parks. To the east of Alnwick lies the Northumberland Coast with a coastal path spanning 100km over an ever-changing landscape just waiting for you to explore.
Wye Valley & Forest Of Dean
Symond’s Yat is popular for a range of activities but it is particularly great for hiking. Not only is it home to a range of well-maintained trails around Symond’s Yat Rock but the location gives you easy access to the whole of the Wye Valley and opens up the rest of the Forest of Dean for you to seek out trails and paths to your heart’s content.
For those keen to explore a less beaten track there is Roybridge. Just over 10 miles from Fort William it is close enough for a big day on Ben Nevis, or if you’ve already done it maybe you’ll tick the Creag Meagaidh range off your list. For slightly less demanding days you can explore the parallel roads of Glen Roy and wander the trails of the Achaderry Estate.
Ballater is a great alternative to Aviemore for exploring the Cairngorms and offers a fantastic walk to one of my all-time-favourite views, Lochnagar. Ben Macdui, the second-highest mountain in the British Isles, is also accessible from nearby, parking at Linn of Dee. For trails a little less taxing you can explore Loch Muick, making sure to keep an eye out for Glas-Alt-Shiel if you’re interested in a bit of history. Braemar and Balmoral castles aren’t too far, both of which have lovely grounds for exploring.
Perhaps one of the more popular areas for walkers on this list, the Gower Peninsula is simply stunning. Just like the Quantock Hills mentioned above it was one of the first designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956 and boasts some of the most beautiful sections of the Wales coast path as well as the Worm's Head (pictured) and ancient woodlands with well-marked trails further inland.
St David’s is an ideal base for those who love to hike by the coast. A 16km loop will take you all around the coast of the Treginnis peninsula straight from the centre of St David’s. Alternatively, if you’d like to see inland too you can choose a different path each day to get to the coast and back, again all from St David’s.
About the Author:
Charlotte Fish - Outdoor Expert
Charlotte discovered her passion for the outdoors in her early teens and has never looked back since. Her pursuit of outdoor activities has taken her all over the world but she truly believes there is no place like home.